|Page (1) of 1 - 08/31/11||email article||print page|
Suicide car bomber strikes after morning prayers, kills at least 5 in southwest Pakistan
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) ' A suicide car bomber attacked worshippers in southwestern Pakistan on Wednesday as they were heading home after morning prayers at the start of an Islamic holiday. The blast killed at least five people, officials said.
The attack occurred in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, which is home to both Taliban militants and nationalists who have waged a decades-long insurgency against the Pakistani government. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.
There were conflicting reports about the death toll from the blast.
Quetta police chief Ahsan Mahboob said five people were killed in the suicide attack. But Babul Baluch, a member of the Edhi Foundation, which runs ambulance services throughout Pakistan, said 10 people were killed.
The blast also wounded at least 17 people and damaged nearby vehicles and buildings, said Mahboob.
The attack was a somber beginning to Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that comes at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. In Pakistan, the three-day holiday started Wednesday while in many other parts of the Muslim world it began on Tuesday.
Baluchistan has experienced frequent bombings in recent years, many at the hands of nationalists who demand a greater share of the province's natural resources. Baluchistan is also believed to be home to many senior Taliban commanders, including leader Mullah Omar.
Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed contributed to this report from Islamabad.